Venezuela's Chavez in Venice for Oliver Stone film

Mon Sep 7, 2009 12:04pm EDT
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VENICE (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez arrived in Venice on Monday to attend the world premiere of Oliver Stone's documentary about him and his strained relations with the United States.

"South of the Border" is a sympathetic portrait of the leader, casting him as a champion of the poor who has stood up to Washington.

Chavez, surrounded by bodyguards, strolled with Stone on the Lido red carpet and signed autographs like a movie star ahead of the premiere at the Venice film festival.

"What's happening in Latin America is like a Renaissance," the Venezuelan leader told reporters.

Chavez landed in Venice after visiting Iran and Turkmenistan.

(Editing by Paul Casciato)

<p>Oliver Stone (L) and Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez pose for photographers during a red carpet at the 66th Venice Film Festival September 7, 2009. REUTERS/Tony Gentile</p>